The trade deadline may be passed, but it doesn’t mean that the Padres still might have pieces that can help contenders as the wild card races in both the AL and NL have heated up.
Jon Jay continues to rehab from injury, and injuries have and will hurt teams looking to make it into the wild card and division titles. Just yesterday the Marlins found out that Giancarlo Stanton will be out for the season after they went all in at the deadline for Andrew Cashner
and Colin Rea from the Padres.
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In addition to Jay, the Padres bullpen continues to impress with Ryan Buchter, Brand Hand throwing left from the left side and Brandon Maurer from the right side. The Padres incentive however is a little murkier, as most large contracts of any kind have already been shed. Hand is arbitration eligible for the first time after 2017 and Maurer also won’t be a free agent until 2020.
The increasingly trickier question is what to do with Derek Norris? He is hitting under .200 and while we know that AAA numbers in the Pacific Coast League don’t translate exactly to the Major Leagues – it does appear Hedges has turned an offensive corner. The problem is we won’t really know until he is up in the Majors playing everyday. For that to happen the Padres need to get rid of Norris.
The rest of the Padres outfield is another potential quandry: Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson in particular. Jankowski’s speed has been impressive – but do the Padres really see him as a better long-term starter than what they expect out of Manuel Margot? Dickerson has shown he can hit for power and average, but seems more like a 4th outfielder than full time starter. Jabari Blash unfortunately isn’t doing any better this time around this his stint early in the year as a Rule 5 pick. Of these I think Jankowski would be the likeliest to move to a team looking for an outfielder/pinch runner for the playoffs.
Another alternative is that the Padres don’t bother and just let everyone they have now play out the season and plan for 2017. Catcher will be a big area in the off-season and the most GM A.J. Preller can hope is that Derek Norris finishes strong so he can parlay that into a suitable trade package in the off-season. I don’t see any of the outfielders moving, with Brad Hand and Buchter being potential targets as teams always need relief pitching.